Health Care

Florida Zika virus cases continue to rise with three more infections confirmed in Miami-Dade

People make their way through fumigation fog, sprayed to kill Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, on March 1. Cuban authorities are fumigating in an attempt to prevent the spread of Zika virus, as well as other similar infectious diseases, including Chikungunya and Dengue. Zika virus has spread rapidly through Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
People make their way through fumigation fog, sprayed to kill Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, on March 1. Cuban authorities are fumigating in an attempt to prevent the spread of Zika virus, as well as other similar infectious diseases, including Chikungunya and Dengue. Zika virus has spread rapidly through Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. AP

Three new Zika virus infections were confirmed in Miami-Dade on Thursday, raising the county's number of cases to 22 people and the statewide total to 47, the Florida health department reported.

None of the Zika infections confirmed in Florida were locally transmitted, health officials said, and only four people are still exhibiting symptoms, which include fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes that generally last one week to 10 days, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among Florida’s confirmed Zika cases are four pregnant women. State health officials have declined to identify the counties where the expectant mothers live, out of concern for their privacy, nor have they said the women traveled when they acquired the virus.

Pregnant women are considered to be at greatest risk from the virus because of a strongly suspected link between an outbreak of Zika in Brazil and a concurrent spike in microcephaly, a condition in which a newborn’s head is smaller than expected, which can lead to developmental issues.

Florida has more confirmed Zika cases than any other state, according to the CDC, which has reported 153 cases in the continental United States as of March 2. All of the cases in the continental United States were acquired by travelers outside of the country, the CDC said.

The mosquito kills nearly 750,000 people each year. Malaria is the cause for the majority of these deaths, but a Zika outbreak has the Americas scared of this insect. This is how the insect spreads disease to its victims.

The virus is primarily transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are found in Florida, but the CDC reports that Zika can also be transmitted by a man to his sex partners and through blood transfusions. The CDC recommends that men who might have been exposed to the virus consider abstaining or using a condom.

Fight mosquitoes inside and outside with a few simple tips. Remember to cover windows with screens, remove standing water, and cover your skin with long sleeves shirt and pants. And don't forget insect repellent.

Zika cases in Florida as of March 3 (all acquired outside state)

County

Number of Cases (all travel related)

Alachua

1

Brevard

1

Broward

6

Hillsborough

3

Lee

3

Miami-Dade

22

Orange

3

Osceola

1

Santa Rosa

1

Seminole

1

St. Johns

1

Cases involving pregnant women*

4

Total

47

Source: Florida Department of Health

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